Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review, Resources

Confucianism as a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities

Is Confucianism a religion? In one way or another, this question has been asked for as long as Westerners have tried to make sense of China—from the earliest translations done by the Jesuits half a millennium ago right up until the present. It can even be argued quite persuasively that thinkers from China and its East Asian neighbors have asked a similar kind of question almost since Confucius’s Analects began to be distributed in the centuries after the sage’s death. The broader matter th...

Feature Article

Remonstrance: The Moral Imperative of the Chinese Scholar-Official

This essay will offer an approach that helps instructors of survey courses in world or Chinese history to introduce the concept of remonstrance—a key component of the training, motivation, and behavior of scholar-officials in imperial China. We focus on shi, Chinese scholar-officials, because this is the group most identified with Confucian education and moral practice in premodern Chinese society. They dedicated themselves to understanding Confucian teachings and texts, and sought to become o...

Online Supplement

Further Resources to accompany the feature article “Remonstrance”

Andrew, Anita, and John Rapp. Autocracy and China’s Rebel Founding Emperors: Comparing Chairman Mao and Ming Taizu. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000. “The Confucian Tradition.” Asia for Educators. Accessed September 23, 2014. http://tinyurl.com/o52yxvb de Bary, William Theodore and Irene Bloom. Sources of Chinese Tradition: From Earliest Times to 1600. Volume 1. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. Hucker, Charles O. China’s Imperial Past: An Introductio...

Book Review, Resources

Chinese Aesthetics and Literature: A Reader

The past few decades have seen a growing demand among teachers and scholars of Western literature for clear analyses of Chinese aesthetics. While there are many fine introductory materials, there remains a need for what might be called "intermediate" materials that prepare the serious reader for specialized works. Chinese Aesthetics and Literature: A Reader admirably fills part of that gap, with eleven well-written pieces by experts in Chinese literature who speak to a wide audience.

Book Review, Columns

The Upright Brush: Yan Zhenqing’s Calligraphy and Song Literati Politics

Amy McNair has written a splendid study of a major Tang dynasty (618–906) political figure, Yan Zhenqing (709–785), and the manner in which his reputation as a statesman and calligrapher grew during the subsequent Song dynasty (960–1279). McNair’s text is part biography, part historical overview, part artistic analysis—with the pieces coming together in a deeply satisfying picture of Yan Zhenqing as a Tang loyalist whose bold brushstrokes were appropriated by eleventh-century literati ...

Essay, Resources

Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History

by John Wills PRINCETON: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1993 XX, 403 PAGES John Wills’s Mountain of Fame is a collection of compact biographies of twenty major figures in Chinese history. What makes it engaging is the range of personalities and time periods it covers, as well as prominent themes connecting Chinese history from early periods to the twentieth century. Wills does not merely provide readers with twenty isolated portraits, but rather links them to an account of Chinese history and c...

Essay, Resources

Korean Civilization and East Asian Studies

One of the challenges faced by teachers of East Asian Studies is to move beyond one’s area of research expertise toward teaching that covers “the rest” of East Asia. It is often quite challenging to move toward teaching competence in premodern and modern China and Japan, but extremely difficult— without prior training—to take on the Korean peninsula. Trained as a premodern (Song-Ming) Chinese historian, I spent my first years of teaching working to create fuller offerings in modern Chi...